Miami introduced Mario Cristobal on Tuesday, capping a whirlwind and controversial courtship to begin the new head coach’s tenure in Coral Gables, Fla.
“I’m honored and humbled. Words can’t describe,” Cristobal said. “This is strong. This hits as hard as it can hit. What an honor. … My god, what an honor.”
Miami had been courting Cristobal, a former Hurricanes player and assistant coach, all while Cristobal was entertaining an offer to remain at Oregon and erstwhile Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz still held the job. The school fired Diaz on Monday morning before naming Cristobal to the position later in the day.
Adding to the controversy, Miami told the media attending Cristobal’s introductory press conference not to ask him questions about the hiring process, according to an Associated Press reporter.
Regardless, Tuesday marked the beginning of a new era for Hurricanes football.
“When The U is on and The U brings it, there’s nothing like it,” Cristobal said. “We gotta get there. That’s going to take everybody.
“Everything is here,” Cristobal said. “It’s a first-class university, academically, your diploma. You’re in the hotbed of talent in the entire country. Your facilities have taken a tremendous upgrade and are going to continue to grow. You’re going to be surrounded by the best coaches.”
Cristobal, 51, played at Miami from 1989-92, was a graduate assistant from 1998-2000 before returning as an assistant coach from 2004-06.
Cristobal just completed his fourth full season at Oregon. He was 35-13 overall, including 10-3 this year following Friday night’s 38-10 loss to Utah in the Pac-12 title game in Las Vegas. Last December, Cristobal signed a new six-year, $27.3 million deal with the Ducks through the 2025 season.
Cristobal previously coached at Florida International, also located in South Florida, from 2007-12, putting together a 27-47 record in six seasons. Overall, Cristobal is 62-60 as a head coach.
Cristobal signed a 10-year deal worth a reported $80 million. Miami was all in to bring Cristobal home.
“All in is all in,” Cristobal said. “I feel more driven, more motivated than ever. I can’t wait to get to work. … Let’s get this thing right. Let’s take this thing to a new level. … I want to be around guys who can’t live without football.”
–Field Level Media